Olivia Castriota is a NYC-based vocalist. Since the age of 11 with bedazzled purple hairbrush in hand, Olivia hasn’t stopped singing, constantly inspired by Joss Stone, Etta James, D'Angelo & Ed Sheehan.
Describe your music in 3 words:
Strong. Catchy. Pop.
Can you tell us a little bit about your playlist?
My playlist is made up of some of my favorite artists like; Camille Trust, Amy Winehouse, Beck Pete and Joss Stone just to name a few. All of the artists on this list represent strength and fearlessness. They inspire me to make the music that speaks to my soul and makes me feel more like myself. All the songs on this playlist will make you feel something. When Sammy Rae’s ‘Kick It To Me’ comes on, you’ll be movin’ and groovin’, whereas when it gets to Lifting You’ by Michael Blume you’ll be in a state of deep reflection.
What should we do while listening to it?
This is a great playlist for cleaning the house on a Saturday morning. I encourage you to start out by making a cup of coffee so when you get to the deeper more story driven tunes, you can just take a break, relax and really listen. After you’ve received the wisdom and taken that time to really relate, get back to dancing while you get those household chores done!
What’s the weirdest gig you’ve ever played?
I once played a show at this underground venue in Brooklyn, where a completely naked woman hijacked my microphone mid-song. I was shook. I didn’t know if I was being Punk’d or if this was how they did things at this venue or WHAT! She gave a lovely five-minute performance that ended with a nose dive off the stage. It was wild and I managed to get this whole thing on video.
What do you do when you need to find inspiration?
I go to LA. I meet up with my songwriting friends there. I set up some shows. I meet new people. I soak in the sun. I thrive in a place with no humidity and every time I go to LA it is always so magical and brings me right back to life.
What advice do you have for other emerging artists?
Find what makes you unique and hone in on that. Figure out what your “brand” is and what makes you special. Something that I often think about is “what do I have to say?” It’s important to stand for something and have opinions about the world and things in it. So, I think it’s good to always be aware of what message you want to put out into the universe.
What’s been your biggest challenge in the music industry so far?
There are so many it’s hard to narrow it down to just one, haha. I think when I started, it was really challenging to break into the NY music scene. Thank God for TakeLessons.com introducing me to my vocal coach Irma Seleman. She introduced me to the producer of my first album and then all the pieces started to fall together from there. But before meeting her and her generous introductions, things were a little difficult.
What’s next on the horizon for you?
This year I have been working with loads of new people; I’ve worked with producers in LA, NY, NJ, and Toronto. We have so much material to give to the world, and I’m planning to just keep releasing singles until you get sick of me.
What are you most proud of today?
I’m most proud of being brave enough to quit my 9-5 office job in 2014 to pursue music full time. I put in my two weeks notice and a few weeks later, I was singing at the world famous Apollo Theater. I’ve performed at stages all across the US, made an album that peaked at #2 on the iTunes US New Album Release charts (2015) and been able to collaborate with some fiercely talented creatives. I’m proud of myself for following my dreams.
Who’s one artist on your playlist we need to start following immediately, and why?
Tank and The Bangas. I saw them this summer at the Newport Folk Festival and I was at a loss for words. Talk about a powerhouse band. They’re from Nola and just brought the house down!!